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Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz Superstars Paperback

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Bill Berloni was a young apprentice when he got his first big break: to find and train a dog for the original production of Annie. He rescued a down-on-his-luck dog from a local shelter and together they redefinedwhat animal performers could do. Since then Berloni and his trainers have provided animals for hundreds of films, commercials, and television shows as well as live theater, including productions of Annie, The Wizard of Oz, and Because of Winn-Dixie. In this book, Berloni tells the stories of “throw-away” animals who starred with some of entertainment’s biggest names—including Bernadette Peters, Sarah Jessica Parker, Meryl Streep, and Natalie Portman—and his search for Broadway’s newest Sandy.
 
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

In 2011, William Berloni received the Tony Honor for Excellence in Theater, the first ever given to an animal trainer. Berloni began his animal training career in 1976 by rescuing a dog from an animal shelter. That dog was the original Sandy in the Broadway musical, Annie, who performed for seven years - the longest for any animal in Broadway history! Sandy was the first animal to play a major character in theater whose actions influenced the outcome of the story. Before that, no-one had been able to train an animal in that capacity for live theater. That breakthrough ultimately led to Mr. Berloni's "star-stuuded" career and continued success as Broadway's premier animal trainer. Since that time, he and his trainers have provided animals for hundreds of films, commercials, television shows and printwork as well as live theater all over North America. When not working, his animals live in humane, loving conditions and while on set, they are handled by caring, professional people who are highly skilled in animal behavior. Regarded as an expert in canine behavior, Mr. Berloni has a BFA in theater and has written Doga (Chronicle Books, 2003). He lives in Middlesex county, Connecticut with his wife Dorothy.
 
Jim Hanrahan is a writer and Berloni's brother-in law
 
 
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002PJ4I4I
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,486,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a great book. I loved the stories of the rescued dogs and how they were trained to perform on the stage. I also loved the heart of Bill Berloni who made sure these dogs got good homes either with himself or a friend once they could no longer perform. I immediately bought a book to give to my sister, the ultimate animal lover. Thanks goodness for people like Bill who found a job he loved quite by accident and turned that job into a way to save many animals in shelters. A very heartwarming story especially for animal lovers. A real treasure of a book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Berloni put his dogs and their care and welfare first even when his economic situation could have strongly tempted him otherwise. He is a great advocate for a great truth: pound dogs are just as good as any pure-bred; get your pup from the pound. It is also a very fun read, and one can learn much about animal training, about Broadway, and about efforts to humanely treat animals. He genuinely cares for his critters, and this comes through in the book.
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Fun book to read. Amazing how the author got involved in the business.
Endears the reader to the animals by the way he trains and relates to them.
Fascinating to learn how he figured out to train the animals and get them to do amazing things.
Also, rescued animals and found great homes for them after they finished their roles.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are an animal lover you will absolutely LOVE this book. If you aren't, you will still LOVE this book! The stories are sooo moving, and full of emotion. This man is a true animal activist and really changed the way animal shelters are run! He saved alot of dogs and cats lives! Thank God !
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I grew up in Connecticut, attended college in New Britain where he grew up, and have many times gone to Goodspeed Opera House where he began his career by provided "Sandy" for Annie. Those things attracted me to the book, but his amazing career working with animals, especially rescues, and training them to perform was outstanding. I loved the first book so much that I gave it to an ill CT dog owner who I knew would enjoy it. Was thrilled to have the chance to purchase the updated version. This one will stay with me.
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Berloni's ability to train animals to perform on stage is remarkable. Whenever I see him on TV I feel so privileged to know his background. Had to give away my first copy, wishing his story to be enjoyed by others.
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Format: Paperback
Bill Berloni wasn't a professional animal handler; in fact he knew nothing about training dogs. But when the musical ANNIE came to the stage it was Berloni who was tasked with finding a dog to play Annie's mutt Sandy, as well as to train him. And so he did. This is Berloni's tale of finding the original dog, plus a substitute if the star was unwell, and learning how to train animals for the stage. He not only trained Sandy's successors, but trained a long list of other stage dogs, cats, and other animals, using his wits, love and kindness.

This is an enjoyable tale of a man and the love for his animals, and the mark that he left on rescue organizations (the dogs and cats he trained were chiefly rescue animals, and showed that even a "mutt from the pound" could succeed in show business).

The only thing that bothered me about this book was a two-paragraph story about how Benji and his (actually her, because the second Benji was female) trainer Frank Inn visited the set of ANNIE. Berloni comments that the dog seemed robotic and only alive when she was doing routines. I thought that was kind of odd because Frank Inn had a great reputation in Hollywood and he was known to favor the dogs who played Benji (the original "Higgins" and then his daughter). Maybe Benji just adored her trainer and kept her eyes on him at all times. Some dogs are like that.
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What an inspiration this book is. The photos are a delight. His conversational style is endearing. The author Bill Berloni documents how he sought out and rescued rejected animals from dogs and cats to birds pigs or rats - and trained them for key roles in theatrical productions. You can't help falling in love with his critters as the author takes you along for the ride. Each animal becomes a star after Berloni's extensive training. Sometimes against all odds, only his instinct, love and 'dogged ' determination enables the show to go on. After reading this book I couldn't wait to see the play 'Annie' in Australia, and watched their dog's performance with enhanced appreciation. Scruffy or fluffy, maimed, placid or over-excitable - all the Berloni's trained dogs anors have brought delight to countless audiences from stage to screen. Bill Berloni's book indicates that his work has raised the bar for care and control of animals in show-business. You'll love this book - and hopefully consider adopting one of the numerous strays in animal shelters across the country.
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